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  • Danny Wootton

Do you think technology or transformation?


Transformation is becoming an overused term in the business world. Whether people are talking about business or digital transformation, in many cases, they are actually talking about a technology project somewhere in an organisation rather than a wider programme that is fundamentally changing the way an organisation goes about its 'business'. I say 'business', the issue is equally applicable to both public and private sector.

All too often, technology projects spring up around the business because people are trying to do what they think is the right thing to bring their organisation up to date. However, without an overall vision for the business and a coordinated plan based upon value creation, the individual projects can often cost more than the value they create.

This is where the CEO has an important role to play in the transformation of their business. By setting the overall vision, direction and operating model for the business, the CEO can start to shape the projects, the order in which they are done and the outcome and value to be generated. More importantly they also help to identify the business processes, policies and structure of the organisation as well as the technology needed.

For example, let's think of an asset intensive business that wants to transform how it does business with its clients, moving to a consumption based model and linked to service availability to help differentiate it in its market. Not an uncommon challenge for many B2B businesses.

Today many organisations manually inspect their assets on a routine basis, irrespective of how often those assets have been used, the stress the asset has been put under and the age of the asset. Engineers are often despatched to do an inspection and then weeks later, they will visit another asset within 30 minutes of the one previously visited. This could mean they visit sites when assets as performing well, and don't proactively visit sites where assets are about to fail. They do what the plan says.

Implementing the Internet of Things, Workforce Scheduling and Mobile Reporting can, relatively easily and cost effectively, automate the process of gathering the data necessary to know when you have to visit the site, if at all and dynamically scheduling the engineer's visit.

This is all achievable from a technology perspective. However, the required changes to process and policy could be large and addressing the risk and regulatory aspects for a business will be even larger.

This bring us to the people issues. Retraining and re-deploying the personnel no longer needed for routine inspections could be costly and time consuming. The changes in work practice as employees only visit the office when needed rather than daily or weekly will also mean everyone has to adjust to a new way of working, even managers as they adjust to managing remote workers.

All of this is hard to do, which is why many organisations focus on the technology and don't transform how the business operates.

So back to the visionary CEO. To enable organisations to really transform, the direction needs to come from top down, explaining why it is important for the business to transform, and the consequences if it doesn't, thereby giving teams the support needed to address the difficult, non technology, issues.

Are you that visionary CEO? How about sharing your transformation stories to inspire others.


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